According to customer experience futurist and thought leader Blake Morgan, brands need to become more experience focused to make their customers’ life easier and better by adapting technology into their online business.
Nowadays customers expect a lot from brands before purchasing online, especially with the rise of Martech trends. The customer journey starts online so brands need to meet their customers during all touchpoints that happen through digital channels. The pull effect is no longer the main strategy to attract potential customers as it used to be a decade ago. Now, it is vital to integrate an effective and customer-centric push effect, in order to be present and available where your target audience demands it.
Even though customers do the major part of their research online, more than often the purchase is still happening offline. This is because there are still some lingering pain points that prevent the customers from buying online and E-com has not fully mastered just yet.
The top 5 blockers from buying online:
1- The lake of information about the product. Is there enough information on your website for the online customer to make a purchasing decision?
2- Why am I actually buying this. Do I really like it? / I don’t understand how it works. What if I have questions about the product? No one can help me online
3- Do I trust the website/brand?
4- Prices cannot be negotiated online – standard price – what are the best options for me?
5- I need answers now, I do not have time to lose and visit your physical store. I need to make a fast decision on what I want now.
Customers expect brands to be tech and digital savvy. In the end of the day, brands should be the ones adapting to the target audience and not the other way around in order to remain relevant in the market. We have seen in the past couple of years, various changes in the e-commerce sphere that to this day, we are talking about a 3rd wave in e-commerce that is mostly focusing on providing an in-store feel online by creating conversations with customers online, through the desired channel (voice, chat, chatbot, live video).
“We have to interact with customers where they are: on the phone, on our branded websites, in our own apps, on social networks, and over every conceivable medium” VentureBeat
Main customer expectations from e-commerce websites:
1- A seamless customer experience online: easy check out, easy navigation on the website, shift between devices etc. For better engagement and relevant customer experience, brands need to be mobile first and accompany the customer during the entire buying journey.
2- Full & complete product information and description online: have the most realistic photo/image of the product in sight
3- Attend the customers in real-time and provide them with personalized offers
4- Provide customer with a secured payment system
5- Fast delivery
Marketers are now focusing on creating strategies based on a deep study of their audience in order to better target them at key touchpoints, engage with them, and personalize the conversation. The end goal is to provide the sales team with better qualified leads ready for the sale. It is crucial to put customer experience in the center of any e-business to meet customer expectations for seamless, quick and easy processes. Brands are looking to connect their offline and online channels by using technology and therefore improving the customer journey.
In the end, it is all about having a website that can drive an exceptional omnichannel experience that increases engagement and conversion rates by:
– Increasing conversations online to be able to attend the customer in real-time and answer their questions & concerns
– Enhancing online engagement with the customer in order to qualify better leads: providing a seamless experience replicating the in-store experience
– Being able to show the product in real-time
– Be available for your customer on any digital channel
Brands are now looking to generate real-time conversations with their online customers. Over the past decade, marketers have been mostly focusing on driving traffic and generating leads that they have forgotten to address this fundamental shift in how people research and buy products online. Customers want to connect with brands in real-time, through the channel most suitable to their needs or current situation. Brands need to ensure they offer all the touch points in their customer journey (voice, chat, video, etc.) in order to reach 100% of their online visitors. Conversational Sales & Marketing will revolutionize the way brands market & sell to customers online.